World Of Warcraft 'Could Go Free-To-Play'

Paul Walker


Game director Tom Chilton says that while he doesn't think the subscription model is dead, World of Warcraft could go free-to-play.

Published on Aug 22, 2013

Speaking to NowGamer, World of Warcraft game director Tom Chilton has said that while he believes that subsciption based MMOs still have a future, it is conceivable that World of Warcraft could go free-to-play in the future. 

"I definitely think that free-to-play MMOs will be around for a very long time," Chilton said. "At some point it's possible that World of Warcraft could end up being free-to-play, but I do think there’s always room for there to be subscription games."

Chilton explained that he believes that the subscription model still has a future because of the value players get from MMOs in terms of the amount of time they spend in the world. 

"If you think about how much time players typically spend in a game like World of Warcraft, whether it's 20 hours a month, or in some cases 40, or 60, or 80, and you evaluate that against other forms of entertainment and what you're getting out of it, it makes a lot of sense."

However, Chilton does concede that subscription MMOs are going to have to do more for their players if the model can continue to be successful. 

"I do think that as time goes on subscription MMOs might evolve toward becoming a little bit more dynamic and making sure that within that month time span it feels like new events and new episodes happen to keep it fresh," Chilton said.  

"I think there’s definitely still that possibility to have subscription MMOs in the future," Chilton continued. "I just think that it’ll be hard to pull off, but I think it’ll happen."

Chilton's words chime with those of Matt Firor from ZeniMax Online, who recently confirmed that upcoming MMO The Elder Scrolls Online will use a subscription model.

A number of recent MMOs have struggled with a subscription based approach and have been forced to adopt free-to-play, so it will be interesting to see if Chilton and Firor are correct in asserting that there is still a future for subscription based business models.



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